Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Ward Acts To Protect Local Democracy In 20mph Move

Cllr Tim Ward Speaking at Conference

A leading Cambridge City Councillor is taking action to make sure a national call to support 20mph speed limits in residential streets puts residents and local authorities in charge.

Tim Ward, Executive Councillor for Planning and Sustainable Transport is backing a motion to the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference but wants some of the wording changed to take control away from central government.

He said: “It is crucial that the final decision on whether residential streets becoming 20mph zones rests with the residents and local authorities after proper consultation.

“I fully support the motion going before conference but want to make sure that the wording is clear in support of local democracy. It is also important that we don’t advocate a ‘one size fits all policy’ but instead allow local authorities to make decisions based on their own localities.”

The motion “20 is Plenty - Saving Lives on the Road” will be put before the Brighton conference on Monday, September 24.

It calls for all existing residential roads currently on a 30mph limit to move to 20mph over a 10 year period with the aim of converting 10 per cent of all roads each year.

But Cllr Ward, working with colleagues in St Albans, is calling for this wording to be replaced with a reference to local authorities giving consideration to the introduction of 20mph limits in existing residential and other suitable roads over the next few years, with schemes designed in consultation with local residents.

He is also aiming to make sure that instead of the Transport Minister being “put in charge of the national conversion to 20mph limits”, he will consult with local authorities on the matter.

Cllr Ward’s amendment has been supported by South East and South Cambs Lib Dems.

He added: “We have been very clear here in Cambridge that no decisions will be taking on altering speed limits in the city without full consultation with our residents and we want to make sure that message comes across nationally.

“There is well-documented evidence that lowering the speed limit would make our roads safer and give parents more confidence to allow their children to walk and cycle to school. But it is crucial that any decisions are taken with the support of people living in the city.”